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Published on March 2nd, 2012 | by Greg

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Home Movies In 3D: A Mixed Bag

We’re pret­ty con­fi­dent that ev­ery­one who saw Avatar came out won­der­ing, “when will my home movies be able to look like this?” Not so much the spe­cial ef­fects or make­up- we’ll stick with the Blue Man Group for body paint­ing, thanks- but the 3D tech­nol­o­gy. Of course, not ev­ery­thing is bet­ter with that ex­tra di­men­sion, and if you think pro­fes­sion­al­ly edit­ed films can make you a bit dizzy, wait un­til you’ve tried film­ing a par­ty your­self.

So, we ap­proached the DXG 5F9V HD 1080p 3D Cam­corder with a mix of won­der and skep­ti­cism. We’ve tried out their cam­eras be­fore- three of them in fact, from the Luxe se­ries to the A80V that we liked and found a sol­id bar­gain. They might not be a name fa­mil­iar to many peo­ple, but they do have one of the few 3D video cam­eras on the mar­ket, and cer­tain­ly the on­ly one we’ve seen in the price range.

And, in­deed, you get to film in three-di­men­sions, with de­cent video qual­i­ty. But the cam­era is cer­tain­ly not with­out it’s share of flaws and foibles. Much like the A80V, it can film at 30 fps at 1080p or 60 frames per sec­ond at 720p- though it’s im­por­tant to note that the end re­sult in 3D is half that res­o­lu­tion, since the frames are split. We liked the screen quite a bit- no glass­es need­ed- and the cam­era isn’t that bulky or heavy. Film­ing does take some get­ting used to, though, and it’s made hard­er by a de­sign flaw. While oth­er DXG cam­eras can tilt the screen for easy view­ing dur­ing film­ing, the du­al lens sys­tem sticks out be­yond the body in this mod­el and blocks the screen from ro­tat­ing.

As we’ve seen in the past, the au­dio qual­i­ty is pret­ty poor- bare­ly bet­ter than your smart­phone, frankly. There’s no op­ti­cal zoom- on­ly a 4x dig­i­tal zoom which we rec­om­mend avoid­ing but was bet­ter than some we’ve seen. And there isn’t any im­age sta­bi­liza­tion, so a good steady hand is im­por­tant- or bet­ter yet, a tri­pod. We tried out some sam­ples through a 3D TV via the hand­i­ly-in­clud­ed HD­MI ca­ble. Of course, not ev­ery­one will have ac­cess to one of these fair­ly new tele­vi­sions, and the pro­cess does re­quire the cam­era to be plugged in and turned on. But our ran­dom test shots and takes looked de­cent, with sur­pris­ing­ly good col­or bal­ance, clar­i­ty, and a fair bit of depth to the im­age. There is no way that we could find to con­vert these im­ages to the com­mon red/blue for­mat, in­stead re­quir­ing stereo­scop­ic view­ing. And the in­clud­ed soft­ware is ter­ri­ble- we couldn’t re­al­ly get it to work- but the files are en­cod­ed to H.264, AVI, which makes them a breeze to up­load to YouTube (and they do a very good job of con­ver­sion as well).

Bat­tery life was de­cent, though you’ll need to re­move the bat­tery to recharge it. Mem­o­ry is han­dled via SD cards- the on­board stor­age of 128 MB is es­sen­tial­ly use­less, and we sug­gest get­ting a big, high-speed SD card. If you’ve al­ready in­vest­ed in a 3D tele­vi­sion, it’s def­i­nite­ly worth try­ing out this guy- it’s worth the bit of prac­tice, pa­tience and lit­tle bit of ad­di­tion­al in­vest­ment (if you don’t al­ready have an SD card an a tri­pod). As an en­try-lev­el cam­corder, it’s fun.

We wouldn’t sug­gest it to those who don’t specif­i­cal­ly need the fea­ture though. Here are some sam­ples, though they won’t look like much with­out a ca­pa­ble mon­i­tor or dis­play- note the 3D in the low­er right of the video. At $240 or so, avail­able on­line now, it’s a great first at­tempt at a con­sumer-lev­el ready-to-go 3D video­cam, and we can’t wait to see bet­ter soft­ware and fu­ture up­grades to the line as the tech­nol­o­gy be­comes more wide­ly avail­able.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.



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